Simons Foundation: Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) Clinical Site Network
The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative’s (SFARI’s) mission is to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) by funding research of the highest quality and relevance. SPARK (Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge) is a SFARI initiative intended to recruit, engage, and retain a community of 50,000 individuals with autism, and their family members, in the United States. This research cohort includes children and adults who span the full autism spectrum and individuals of all socio-demographic backgrounds.
SPARK participants contribute medical and behavioral information online, collect and mail in saliva samples for DNA analysis, and have the opportunity to participate in additional research studies through the study’s research match program. Individuals who enroll in SPARK will receive up to $50 in gift cards, have access to both aggregate and individual behavioral results from their participation, and can elect to receive genetic results should a genetic cause of their autism be identified. SPARK also publishes timely articles on the latest in autism research and hosts monthly interactive webinars or Facebook live events. Additional information about the program can be found on the SPARK website.
SPARK recruits participants using a range of outreach methods, including clinical sites, digital and traditional media, and partnerships with national advocacy organizations. Data from each site’s participants are shared with the site to enrich its local research efforts or research registry. Clinical site investigators are also given expedited access to SPARK participants via the research match program.
SPARK is seeking to support additional U.S.-based clinical sites for the purpose of recruiting individuals with ASD and their family members to participate in SPARK. Selected sites will be responsible for the following: recruitment planning, outreach and recruitment, return of results, data entry, and tracking progress over time.
Amount: Grants of up to $200,000/year for a maximum of three years will be awarded.
Eligibility: All applicants and key collaborators must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school, or other research institute. Applications may be submitted by domestic nonprofit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, and units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government. There are no citizenship or national residence requirements for applicants.
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